Auto News for Feb. 4 – Scion bye bye


Toyota is pulling the plug on the Scion brand but the cars are not going away. Beginning in August, model year 2017 Scion models will rebadged as Toyotas. The FR-S sports car, iA sedan and iM5-door hatchback will become part of the Toyota family. The tC sports coupe will end production in August. Further, the C-HR, which recently debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show will be part of the Toyota line-up. “This isn’t a step backward for Scion; it’s a leap forward for Toyota. Scion has allowed us to fast track ideas that would have been challenging to test through the Toyota network,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America. The Scion brand hit the market in 2003 aimed at younger customers, but sales have slowed in recent years with just about 58,000 hitting the road in 2014. The Scion iM is pictured.

Ford raptor racer

If you want to see one mean looking pick up, take a gander or three at the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor race truck. It will run in the 2016 Best in the Desert off-road racing series with a new high output 3.5-liter Ecoboost engine and 10-speed transmission and a “torque-on-demand” transfer case. Ford said putting the Raptor through this grueling stretch of races will help demonstrate how a truck born in the desert is prepared to take on the toughest of terrain. I have already had three people tell me, “I want one.”

Another airbag problem! Honda, Fiat Chrysler and Mercedes have issued recalls involving bags made by Continental Automotive systems. The maker said the computer controlling the airbag may corrode causing the airbag to deploy when there has not been a crash, or not to deploy at all in an accident situation. Dealers will replace the computer on about 5 million vehicles dating back to model year 2006.

Honda, meanwhile, is recalling another 2.2 million vehicles with the controversial Takata airbags. The recall covers both Honda and Acura branded vehicles dating back to 2005 on up to 2016 models. As before, a defect can send metal fragments into the interior when the bags inflate and that has led to at least 11 fatalities and 139 injuries worldwide. Honda has now recalled 8.5 million vehicles. You can see a complete list of the recalled vehicles at:

Matt LeBlanc will be the first non-British host of Top Gear when the show resumes in May. The former “Friends” star is said to be a “Petrohead” and has earlier appeared twice on the show. He will join presenter, as the Brits call him, Chris Evans. Additional cast members are to be announced.

Fourth quarter profits rose smartly at Daimler, the parent of Mercedes Benz and the reason is the same – strong demand for its Sport Utility Vehicles. Subaru, after reporting month after month of record sales, reported a 21 percent increase in quarterly earnings.



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